Mental health is a growing problem in the world and in Europe. For children and adolescents this is even more concerning, because mental health problems can affect their educational achievements and their personal and social development, thus impairing their right to education (article 2 of the 1st Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights).
According to OECD data, 11,9% of children suffer from some kind of mental disorder. The situation has been called “a hidden crisis” or a “silent epidemic”. Mental health problems are related to bullying, school attendance and suicide risks. The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the situation, putting more stress on children, and isolating them, depriving them from their schools’ peers.
We know that schools and teachers can play a role in helping identifying those students struggling with mental issues such as anxiety or depression and supporting them and helping them to succeed.
We also know that education systems can promote resilience and mental well-being on students throughout the educational curriculum and that schools can prevent a range of negative experiences by creating a strong community that provides students, families and teachers with a sense of connectedness.
Schools and teachers are already, and especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, coping with many difficulties and challenges. Moreover, few teachers have specific training on mental health and very few schools have specific appropriate psychological support resources available for their students.
Therefore, the Parliamentary Assembly should call on the Council of Europe to assist member States to elaborate common guidelines and recommendations about the promotion of mental well-being and mental health in schools, especially throughout teacher training.